But was the vote a harbinger for a new library building?

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    WARWICK-Voters within the Warwick Valley Central School District came out in large numbers Tuesday to approve the proposed $780,765 budget for the Albert Wisner Public Library by more than a two-to-one margin. Voter turnout was heavy for a library election, according to Director Rosemary Cooper. "We usually have between 200 and 300 people vote for the library budget," Cooper said. "So far, there are already about 400." That was at 5 p.m., with four more hours left to vote. Nearly 700 voters turned out for the election. Voters approved the budget by a vote of 488 to 195. "This is always one of my favorite days," said Cooper, who has been at the helm of the library for the past three and a half years. "There are lots of smiling faces. I'm always happy to see them. Participation is good, it's the basis on which we build understanding." And hopefully a new library. Although it was not on the ballot Tuesday, the board revealed plans to build a new library on the 2.2 acres of land donated by Leyland, developers of the Warwick Grove project. The cost will be abput $8.5 million. A referendum for the new building will be presented to voters, possibly in the fall. Cooper said she thought this was going to be a tough budget to get passed. The library budget has increased so little in the past few years, but it was a necessity, she said, in order to continue to provide library services to Warwick's growing population. The new budget is an increase of 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, totaling $1.98, for Warwick residents in the Warwick Valley Central School District, and 10 cents per $1,000 to Chester residents in the school district, totaling 48 cents. Cooper was cautious but optimistic that Tuesday's vote was a sign of things to come for a new library building. "Clearly, a successful vote tells us people approve of what we're doing and support where we're heading," Cooper said. "But there were 198 no votes. We want them to know we respect their vote and will continue to work with them, keeping open a dialog." She added that the library board will continue to educate the public on the building project, get their input and work toward building a library that fits the community. Cooper said the Albert Wisner Public Library is the first library in the county to establish a foundation in order to raise money privately for the new library. "We are working very hard at raising the money for the library," Cooper said. "We recognize in this economic climate it is a big burden on the taxpayers. One way to raise money is through the Friends of the Library. We are also looking toward private fundraising to help us. We're all taxpayers. But we can't just sit back and take the library for granted." Voters also elected two trustees to serve five-year terms. Incumbents Anthony Lampazzi and Joan Noonan ran unopposed.